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We Loved A Film..
We Bought a Zoo (DVD)
Member Name: Wee_Jackie_163
We Bought a Zoo (DVD)
Advantages: Great acting - Beautiful animals - Touching storyline..
Disadvantages: None for me..!
* Film Only Review *
"We bought a zoo" is a 2011 film which is loosely based on the book/memoir of the same name, by Benjamin Mee. The film was first released in the US in December of 2011, appearing in UK cinemas shortly afterwards. The film is due to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK during July 2012.
** THE PLOT **
Benjamin Mee (Played by Matt Damon) has recently lost his wife, and is struggling to cope with his grief whilst raising his two children and juggling his job with his busy home life. His adolescent son, Dylan, is having trouble at school and finds himself repeatedly clashing with his father over many issues, with his moods not being helped by his grief over the loss of his mother. Dylan's younger sister, Rosie, is only 7 years old, and finds the tension at home between her father and her brother difficult, as she struggles to come to terms with her own grief.
After a series of rather difficult events, Benjamin decides that some sort of change is needed to move his family forward a little, as he feels his family can't really move on with their lives properly in their current situation. Deciding that moving home would help his family come to terms with their loss a little, Benjamin enlists the help of Mr Stevens, a real estate agent to help Benjamin find a new family home for him and his children. They eventually stumble across the perfect abode.... A beautiful house, which seems the perfect size and in the ideal location, and Benjamin and Rosie immediately fall in love with the place. Mr Stevens has to work hard to try and curb Benjamin's enthusiasm a little, to be able to tell him the one vital piece of information about the property that has so far escaped Benjamin's notice...... The property is attached to a Zoo.
Will Benjamin be able to cope with the pressure and hard work involved with running a crowded zoo? Can he make the business a success and get all the current problems ironed out? And what will Dylan make of his father's decision to embark upon this new project?
** MY OPINION **
I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed watching "We bought a Zoo" recently, and it is a film that I plan to buy on DVD when it is released later this year. It's popularity with yours truly is no big surprise given I am a huge animal lover, and so any film which centres its main story around a selection of animals is always going to be a popular choice.
It struck me as being the type of film that I think you can put on and enjoy without needing abundant amounts of mental concentration or indeed any sort of 'hard work' being required, thanks to its laid-back, easy-watching nature. It is also the type of film that can be enjoyed time and time again, as some of the little 'quips' and one-liners are often lost the first time around. For me personally, I will never tire of seeing some of the beautiful animals that are in the film, such as "Buster" the gorgeous brown bear or "Solomon" the stunning male lion. My favourite by far however, is the elderly, but feisty "Spar", a 17 year old tiger whose character delivers a vital 'sub-plot' to the main storylines contained in the film. I don't want to deliver any spoilers in this review, but I will say that the relationship between human and animal is displayed spectacularly in this film - on more than one occasion, and never with so much emotion and true feeling as with the storylines surrounding Spar. Beautiful.
The 'human' cast of the movie did a great job too. Matt Damon in particular delivered a faultless performance as Benjamin, his usual 'action-packed' scenes being nowhere in sight for this particular role. I will admit to being slightly apprehensive about the actor's lead as the sensitive, grief-stricken Benjamin, being more used to witnessing Damon playing a soldier or a character in a fast-paced background. I needn't have worried however, and I thought the actor did a rather fabulous job at portraying Benjamin's emotions, particularly when we witness some extremely emotional scenes following Benjamin's journey coping with the loss of his beloved wife. Matt Damon did a wonderful job in convincing me of his grief and his feelings of loss, and I thought the scenes were handled with enough sensitivity and emotion to make them credible. Credit where credit is due... A lot of actor's would have 'fluffed' these scenes, making them feel rather 'slap dash' which would have tarnished their emotional content, in my opinion. Thankfully, this wasn't the case at all, and each and every emotion could be seen on Damon's face, in his body language and was delivered beautifully by the actor. In actual fact, I found there were one or two moments in the film that were so moving and sensitive that I found myself rather close to tears, much to my husband's amusement as we were sitting on a packed plane to America at the time! I hope this doesn't put any readers off however, as it is a film that I would thoroughly recommend, but perhaps have a tissue on stand-by if you are moved by emotional films, or films that have content about grief contained in them.
I can appreciate that the image portrayed by my review thus far may give the impression that the story and film is far from being a fun-packed, laugh-a-minute jovial piece, but this is not the case. Indeed, there are several 'laugh out loud' moments throughout the film (again... rather unfortunate for me that I watched the film on a packed plane..!) as well as some amusing antics involving the animal inhabitants of the zoo. The film DOES have one or two emotional story-lines tied into the main plots, but I didn't feel that this was at all negative, and they were not overly 'hammed' up in the way that films so often are. I felt that there was an excellent balance of humour alongside the sad storylines so that neither felt like it was overtaking in any way.
The rest of the main cast were credible enough in their respective roles too, so that none of the main actors took anything from the film overall. Scarlett Johansson plays Kelly, the head zoo keeper and leader of the rest of the zoo employees. Whilst she could never be described as one of my favourite actresses, I felt that her performance was strong enough in her supporting role to convince me of her abilities, and she never appeared shaky or wooden. I didn't particularly like the character of Kelly, finding her a bit 'mouthy' and standoffish, which may well have been intentional but didn't help my initial reservations about this piece of casting.
The rest of the supporting cast were excellent, and in particular the rest of the employees at the zoo offered some great comedic moments scattered throughout the film. The child actors in the movie too were faultless, with Colin Ford playing Dylan Mee, the adolescent son of Benjamin perfectly, conveying anger, tears, upset and emotion all with apparent ease when necessary. The young Maggie Elizabeth Jones starring as 7 year old Rosie Mee was slightly less outstanding, but this is probably down to her part in the movie being slightly less than her co-stars, rather than her own abilities. And given the young actors' respective ages, I think they all did an excellent job and credit is most definitely due.
Overall, I would highly recommend the movie "We Bought A Zoo" and I enjoyed it so much that I am now intrigued enough to seek out the book by Benjamin Mee to see how it compares. It is most definitely a film that I would highly recommend for some light-hearted humour balanced with a rather emotional storyline that has a real 'feel-good' factor to it too. I would definitely buy the movie on DVD as it is a film I would enjoy watching again....... And again.
Summary: An excellent film with a great plot that I would highly recommend..!